No Average Joe
CWNC’s Kearney had big season
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Eagle Staff Writer
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Published:
December 2, 2017
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Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic’s Joe Kearney (10), in action here against Camp Hill in the PIAA Class 1A championship game, scored 55 goals this season and has been named the Butler Eagle Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

CRANBERRY TWP — Joe Kearney is a confident player on the soccer field, but even he was a bit surprised at the sophomore season he turned in.

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic’s forward led the team’s run to the WPIAL Class A title and appearance in the state title game by scoring 55 goals and adding six assists.

He found the net 30 times as a freshman in 2016.

“I was trying to improve on last year and was shooting for 40 goals,” Kearney said. “I figured it was going to be a challenge and thought if I did get it, it wouldn’t come until late in the season.”

Kearney earned WPIAL Class A and Butler Eagle Boys Player of the Year for his efforts.

“I went up against players who I felt were just as good and am very thankful to be recognized like that,” he said.

Trojan coach Aaron Kelly was in his first season of leading the team, but immediately saw that Kearney was a difference maker.

“The first time I saw him on the field was the first day of voluntary summer training,” Kelly said. “I show up and he’s the first player out there just whipping shots. I could see with his form and the force behind his shots that he was a special player. Then I saw him running and that put him at a whole different level from most players.”

Kearney was able to put up the numbers he did despite facing defenses geared to stop or at least contain him.

“A lot of teams tried to double-team him, but he was able to get through that and still get his shot off or make a perfect pass to a teammate,” Kelly said.

“I think my finishing was a lot better this year,” Kearney said, adding the factors that led to the improvement. “I worked on my conditioning and fitness and had a better knowledge of the field and where I was with the ball.”

According to Kelly, Kearney’s attitude was just as important as the physical talent he brings, saying, “He makes everyone around him better, never gets frustrated and just wants to win.”

Kearney and the Trojans did a lot of that this season, finishing with an overall record of 23-2. Their only losses came against Pine-Richland, a Class 4A program and Camp Hill in the state final.

Kearney, who has been part of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds’ Training Academy for three years, is looking forward to his final two years of high school soccer.

“This year, our final goal was to get to the state title and we did that,” he said. “We didn’t win it, but it was still an amazing season. The reason we got as far as we did was all 20 guys playing as well as they did. We didn’t have any weak links.

“I want to enjoy myself and I want to win a state title. That’s my ultimate goal in high school.”

Following are the Seneca Valley, Mars and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic players who were named to the Butler Eagle’s 2017 Boys Soccer Honor Roll:

CW North Catholic

Ryan Augustine, sophomore forward, 19 goals, 22 assists

Luc Madonna, senior defender, All-WPIAL

Mike Drambel, senior midfielder, 15 goals, 19 assists

Keaton Jennings, senior goalkeeper, 17 shutouts

Bryce Kopchak, sophomore midfielder, 11 goals, 14 assists

Nick Milas, senior midfielder, 12 goals, 16 assists, All-WPIAL

Mars

Cory Ferguson, senior midfielder, 7 goals, 6 assists

D.J. Carter, junior defender, 2 goals, 3 assists

Corey Heim, senior forward, 11 goals, 5 assists

Seneca Valley

Louis Newell, senior midfielder, 10 goals, 3 assists, All-WPIAL and All-State

Caleb Cekella, senior midfielder, 5 goals, 5 assists, All-WPIAL

Drew Balla, senior midfielder, 2 goals, 5 assists

Wes Bodnar, senior midfielder, 2 assists